The Astana (Palace) built by Charles Brooke in 1870, now the residence of the state Governor. Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia

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Built by Charles Brooke in 1869, the Astana (a local word meaning 'palace’) – conveniently labelled in giant white letters – and its manicured gardens still serve as the home of the governor of Sarawak. The best views of the complex are actually from the south (city centre) bank of the river, so it’s not really worth taking a tambang across or using the Darul Hana Bridge.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kuching attractions

1. Orchid Garden

0.12 MILES

Sarawak's state flower, the Normah orchid, is just one of the 82 species growing in these peaceful gardens and greenhouse nursery. Other Borneo orchids to…

2. Darul Hana Bridge


Linking the northern and southern parts of Kuching, the city's spectacular pedestrian bridge (335m) is constructed to resemble the letter 'S' (for Sarawak…

3. Darul Hana Musical Fountain

0.21 MILES

Although bathed in controversy over its funding and contracting, this garish addition to the Kuching waterfront is certainly a head turner – when it's…

4. Sarawak State Assembly

0.22 MILES

Inaugurated in 2009, the iconic home of the State Assembly on the north bank of Sungai Sarawak is an imposing structure whose soaring golden roof is said…

5. Square Tower

0.23 MILES

Along with Fort Margherita, the Square Tower, built in 1879, once guarded the river against marauders. Over the past century the structure – still…

7. Old Court House Complex

0.26 MILES

The Old Court House was built in the late 19th century to serve as the city’s administrative centre. It now houses a cafe and bar, the excellent Ranee…

8. Ranee Museum

0.27 MILES

Opened in 2018, this excellent museum focuses on the colourful and exciting times of Ranee Margaret of Sarawak. Born Margaret Alice Lili de Windt in Paris…